Love Poems You Wish You Had Written #1–“Aimless Love,” by Billy Collins

AimlessIt was two years ago that Suzie Grogan and I played a game of tennis with posts about the love poems we wish we had written, and yet, romantically perhaps, it seems a lifetime ago. Please pardon the cliché! Well, Suzie is at it again on No More Wriggling Out of Writing, and I’m going to follow her lead this time. She’s taking requests this year, or at least suggestions, and I’ll do the same.

What love poem makes you wish you had written it?

Suzie’s first of the week is the classic, and very romantic, “The Good Morrow,” by John Donne, with a marvelous reading by Kenneth Branagh. In this age of Grey’s fifty shades, I concur with her insistence that “Donne is sexier by far than anything E L James came up with.”

The poem I have chosen for my first of this 2015 Valentine’s week, by contrast, is contemporary, and was recommended by my son Micah, known in the blogging world as The Monkey Prodigy. The poem even features a heart just waiting for arrows to pierce it. Sounds like a Valentine’s Day poem, no? Well, maybe it’s a different kind of love, maybe a better kind, the sort of love born of attention and care, and well, how could that not be a romantic good?

Billy Collins is often a guest on “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.” Just this weekend he appeared with guest host Chris Thile for another wonderful show. The video below was from a PHP reading a little over a year ago.

The poem seems to start as a lighthearted exploration of the way we thoughtlessly toss around the concept of falling in love, but in the end, even in the joke of the soap after handling a mouse, there is something in the way the poet caresses the details, the way great poets do, that brings about a simple authenticity that just feels right and, well good. Well, I think it’s lovely, and a good first choice, as it is from his 2013 book of the same title, “Aimless Love.” Thank you, Micah!

The full text can be read on the September 1st, edition of Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac from 2013, where you can also hear the smooth voice in the red shoes read the poem. Here’s Billy’s version.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. keatsbabe says:

    A wonderful poem by one of my favourite poets. It is wonderful to share this love of poetry across the Atlantic David – it truly can cross any divide 🙂


    1. Agreed! And it’s fun doing something like this in tandem. I’m really happy you were the one who started it this time. You and Micah got me all inspired again, especially because his choice for this feature was such a complimentary contrast.


  2. Good morning, David,
    I was listening to PHC this weekend and heard his reading – love the poor dead mouse! One of my favorite love poems is EE Cummings ‘since feeling is first’ – Thanks for the love poems again this year -no better way to spend ones time than reading about love in all its dimensions. K


    1. Hey, I recorded that poem a few years back, but it was sort of in an experimental way. I tried to memorize it and dramatize it. Some loved it, and some hated it. lol

      While I’ve done some Cummings in the love poem slot before, I don’t think I’ve done this one, so I will try to get it a new one on for you this week!

      I don’t know if anyone else calls it PHC, but it sure is easier to write! 🙂 Thanks for listening, reading and encouraging!


  3. I love that poem! I’m so glad you shared it. Oddly, I’m not familiar with Collins’ work, although I’ve heard of him a lot. Time to get acquainted. But I agree with him, that quiet, humble type of love for ordinary things when seen for what is extraordinary about them is the best kind of love, or at least, the kind most gentle to us.

    Liked by 2 people

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